A Christmas Treat: George Larner’s 1909 Book on Race Walking

Thanks again to Tim Erickson we bring you a Xmas present in the form of a pdf of George Larner’s pioneering 1909 textbook on Walking.


In the London 1908 Olympics George Larner on his way to gold in the 3500 metre walk

In addition, Tim has put together this fascinating biography of the first Olympic Walking Champion.


Within the bio, Tim draws our attention to a lovely piece by Alan Buchanan, which first appeared in the Race Walking Record, of which Alan was an outstanding editor. This version appeared in Sussex Athletics under the title.’ THE ONLY SUSSEX DOUBLE OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST’.

Alan’s article begins:

At the 1908 London Olympics, George Larner of Brighton and County Harriers won the 3,500m Walk and the 10 miles Walk. Those distances were never raced again, so to this day Sussex has a club athlete who holds the two Olympic gold medals and the Olympic records.

I switched from running to race walking in 1966, encouraged by Arthur Jones, who two years later was selected for the 20km at the Mexico City Olympics, along with Brighton and Hove AC club mates Chris Carter (800m) and Andy Todd (4 x 400m relay). I worked for the Brighton and Hove Herald through the sixties and researched their archives at the time to write an article on George Larner for the Race Walking Record.

Although born in Berkshire in 1875, he took up walking with the club in 1903, aged 28 and soon showed an aptitude for the event, winning four AAA titles in the following couple of years, including nine world records. He was a Brighton Police Constable and soon found that his duties prevented him from serious walk training. The Chief Constable was made aware of this and in 1906 the County Borough of Brighton Watch Committee gave Larner special dispensation, to train for the London Olympic Games, which were to be held in 1908.

He ends on an unexpected note:

Few sportspersons can expect to have the honour of their name emblazoned on their local bus. When George Larner was born in 1875, there was no such thing as a motor car as we know it, let alone a double-decker bus. He, however, is celebrated on one of the Brighton & Hove buses, and is one of the only sportspersons and is the only athlete who rubs shoulders, metaphorically, with the great and good associated with the City.

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